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Middle East And North Africa Public Announcement

Issued by US Department of State

Nov 08, 2003

This Public Announcement is being updated to remind U.S. citizens of the continuing threat of anti-American violence, including terrorist actions that may involve commercial aircraft and maritime interests, specifically in the Middle East, including the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa. This Public Announcement supersedes the Public Announcement issued on September 30, 2003, and expires on May 5, 2004.

The Department of State reminds U.S. citizens traveling to the Middle East and North Africa that there remains a potential threat to U.S. citizens and interests in the region posed by those harboring anti-American sentiments, including the risk of attacks by terrorist groups. The U.S. Government remains deeply concerned about the security of U.S. citizens overseas. U.S. citizens are encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.

Credible information has indicated terrorist groups may be planning attacks against U.S. interests in the Middle East. Terrorist actions may include suicide operations, bombings, hijackings or kidnappings. These may also involve commercial aircraft and maritime interests. While conventional weapons such as explosive devices are a more immediate threat in many areas, use of non-conventional weapons, including chemical or biological agents must be considered a possible threat. Terrorists do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. Increased security at official U.S. facilities has led terrorists and their sympathizers to seek softer targets such as public transportation, residential areas, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, hotels, schools, outdoor recreation events, resorts and beaches.

On occasion, the travel of official personnel at embassies and consulates around the world is restricted because of security concerns, and these posts may recommend that private U.S. citizens avoid the same areas if at all possible. Services to U.S. citizens may be affected if employees' movements are restricted. If this happens, U.S. embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens. In case office hours are reduced, U.S. citizens in need of emergency assistance should telephone the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate before visiting in person.

In addition, U.S. citizens planning to travel to the Middle East or North Africa should consult the Department of State's country-specific Public Announcements, Travel Warnings, Consular Information Sheets, the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement and other information available on the Consular Affairs Internet website at Up-to-date information on security conditions can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 in the U.S. or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2328.

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